United Way of Broward County

Agents of Change A-MAZE-ING Choices Life Skills Maze Opens to Local Broward Students

Natalie Horowitz
February 28, 2012

More than 230 students from 11 Broward County middle schools will participate in a life skills maze called the “Agents of Change A-MAZE-ING Choices” at the 2012 Youth Summit held on Wednesday, March 7 at the Broward County Convention Center. The hands-on, educational simulation is organized by Region 7 Gang Reduction Task Force in collaboration with Choose Peace/Stop Violence, and sponsored by The Jim Moran Foundation, United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse, Broward County Public Schools and The Sheriff’s Foundation of Broward County.

Designed to help teens better understand consequences of their life decisions, the maze is an interactive experience taking youth on a journey through possible scenarios that can occur in a teen’s life. The participants will be led through a variety of rooms as they are confronted with choices or chances beyond their control in the areas of violence, substance abuse, smoking, bullying, teen pregnancy and peer pressure.

“Our goal is to improve the capacity and skills of teens to make appropriate decisions and assume responsibility for their choices”, says Nancy Vaniman, Project Manager of Choose Peace/Stop Violence, an initiative overseen by United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Substance Abuse. “We hope that the Youth Summit is just the first step. All children across the county should be exposed to this valuable experience.”

An integral part of the maze is the focus on education and career choices, healthy living, substance abuse and prevention counseling. The maze rooms will be staffed by more than 20 agencies and organization volunteers who will simulate the realistic consequences of the teen choices.

Choose Peace/Stop Violence, is a county-wide anti-violence movement overseen by United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Substance Abuse whose vision is a violence-free community. The movement works together with Broward County youth development partners, our youth, and community members to look at risk factors contributing to Teen Violence, proactive factors to reduce Teen Violence, and what works strategies to increase protective factors with evidenced based programs. For more information about the Choose Peace/Stop Violence initiative visit www.choosepeacestopviolence.org

About United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse
The United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse (UWBCCSA) is a broad based substance use/abuse coalition dedicated to reducing substance use/abuse and all its devastating consequences on individuals, families, and communities. For more information, visit www.drugfreebroward.org.

About United Way of Broward County
United Way of Broward County is a volunteer driven, community-based, non-profit organization with a mission to focus and unite the entire community to create significant lasting change that positively impacts people’s lives. United Way of Broward County is the catalyst for change and convener of partnerships that unite the hearts, minds, and resources within the Broward community.

One in six people in Broward County have their lives touched by United Way’s funded programs – that’s more than 300,000. Every dollar donated to United Way of Broward County stays in the community, and the organization has the ability to leverage each undesignated dollar into $4 through matching grants, therefore providing a $51 million annual impact. For more information, visit www.unitedwaybroward.org.